AN OPINION ON MARY QUEEN OF SCOTS' LEGACY
Ensuring the continuance of the Stuart line with the birth of her son James VI and I was
probably the most significant accomplishment of Mary’s reign. Clearly, a legacy
with the most lasting consequences which resulted in the union of Scotland and England.
This event should not be underestimated since Elizabeth I was the last of her line (Tudor)
and Mary was the last of the Royal Stuarts, until the birth of James. If both Elizabeth
and Mary had died childless, there would probably have been civil war in both Kingdoms.
In England, the next two claimants to the throne after the Tudors were the Lennox Stuarts
(the family of Darnley, Mary’s second husband) and the Greys (the family of Lady Jane Grey,
who was Queen of England for 9 days).
In Scotland, the next two claimants to the Stuart throne were the Lennox Stuarts, again,
and the Hamilton family. Each family hated the other and in fact would probably have started a
war rather than accept the succession of the other.
Since the Lennoxes had their English connections and the Hamiltons held the Dukedom of
Chatelherault in France, I think one could say that if Mary had died without an heir and
the succession was disputed, then both the English and the French would have marched into
Scotland each supporting their own candidate.
Perhaps Mary’s unhappy marriage to Darnley, by producing James her son and heir,
in the end spared Scotland from much trouble and conflict.
In conclusion, one of Mary’s biographers stated that the greatest legacy she left behind
to the people of Scotland was the "epic story of her life." It has all the elements of
A great narrative: passion, murder, intrigue and political and religious issues. Four
hundred + years later people are still captivated by the mystery which surrounds this queen.
Back / Next / Home